[NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC]

NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC

VOL 6, NO 2, SUMMER, 2004

 NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC
VOL 6, NO. 2, SUMMER, 2004


© 2004 Copyright of David E. Smith Publications
All Rights Reserved. Made in U.S.A.

Table of Contents
The Publishers' Space
The Brass Space
Thinking...
The String Space
Maxims...
The Lone Arranger
The Woodwind Space
He, Watches Over Us...
The Percussion Space





 








The product of David E. Smith Publications, LLC is now on e-Print at J.W. Pepper and is presently the feature company on that portion of their website-www.jwpepper.com.

THE PUBLISHER'S SPACE
by David E. Smith


Item #LWBR1306, "Holy, Holy, Holy", a brass sextet by Harry Switzer as been completely revised by key, articulations, motivic patterns and other color considerations. It is a level 4 arrangement and the price remains at $16.00.

They are now available at your favorite dealer. Order NOW!

You will also find it listed on www.churchmusic.biz with additional details.

 

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Warm-up
The warm-up period is the first few minutes of playing or singing following several hours or more of rest from performance. The amount of time needed for warm-up will depend upon how in-shape, how active, what age, and what general state of health or fatigue the performer may have. Many highly-active musicians need little warm-up, though some feel it is always important for mental if not physical reasons. Young players generally need a longer and more gradually-paced warm-up to avoid excess physical tension and to develop good mental habits. But it is the mental process that is the most important and beneficial aspect of the warm-up.

THE BRASS SPACE
by Phil Norris


Efficient, productive warm-up and practice techniques are essential to the success of musicians at any level. Musicians generally treat warm-up and practice as either one procedure or as separate facets of playing. Whichever view is taken, there is no disagreement about the importance of warming up and practicing.

 

Mental
Three primary goals come to mind concerning the mental side of warm-up. The first goal is to wake up the mind to an alert state. This also implies a positive mindset of reaching for one's best. At the outset, you want to establish an attitude of stretching yourself.

Second, rid yourself of mental distractions; let them remain outside the practice room. The essence of concentration is singular focus of attention. It is the key to quality practice and performance. A few minutes of concentration are worth more than much longer amounts of time in unfocused playing.

Third, clarify goals and set the direction for the practice. Have specific goals in mind, a battle plan for achieving objectives. It's better to achieve one clear goal than to cover several things with no aim. The adage is true: if you aim at nothing, you're sure to hit it. You want to get at something, not get it over with. Goals need to be simple, clear, purposeful and positive.

Physical
For the body's warm-up, there are two principal goals. First, practice “Low and Slow.” The low to middle registers are the easiest to produce. Slow playing is easy on the muscles which promotes the relaxed flow of blood. Slow playing also allows the mind to give focused attention on making the best possible sounds. Mind and muscle can work together at their best under these conditions, setting the mental example for the sounds that follow in the practice. When we elevate practice levels, we improve performance. Many fine small steps end in an excellent journey.

The second goal of the physical warm-up is relaxation which (as mentioned before) promotes good blood circulation to and throughout the musculature. This is essential for peak performance. The process of stress-relaxation is the way muscles build strength and then endurance. But if there is too much stress, muscles may be damaged. So without adequate physical warm-up, the damage may occur more readily. The amount of rest required during practice may vary from player to player, but in brass performance, rest is essential for both body and mind. The amount of time following practice or performance until the next session varies with factors mentioned above (vitality, age, health, etc.).

One more point about tone in warm-up should be mentioned. In the first few minutes of playing, do not be concerned about fuzz in the tone. The most important aspect of warm-up is physical relaxation and flow of breath. These must be relaxed for best tone. Sometimes, fuzzy tone is an indicator of excess tension in the lips or blowing.

Practicing
… is hard work, mentally as well as physically. To maintain mental focus is sometimes more demanding than the physical requirements of playing. Practice motivation must come from within, for the public doesn't directly pay the musician to practice.

The only way to perform well is to practice well. What follows is a list of proven principles for productive practice.

Be musical. Always make music and be thinking how you wish to express or phrase the music. Do this on exercises and etudes, not just on repertoire. When learning new material or developing new technique, there may be a temporary emphasis on the technical details, but switch to music-making as soon as possible.

Play with the best tone, pitch and rhythm possible. Rhythm and pitch (in that order) are the main reasons musicians are rejected in auditions. Make music from the musical thoughts, not from the muscles. Sing the part, then mentally sing the music as you play. If you can't sing the music, you really don't know it. High standards in practice make for better and better performances.

Concentrate on specific goals. Concentration does not mean “thinking hard.” It simply means to focus one's attention, eliminating distractions. It saves time while producing quality.

Practice new and difficult things VERY slowly at first. One professional I know recommends playing only at a tempo where you can play 90% of the music accurately at sight. As soon as possible, play with good tone and musicality. As you play, the mind is developing neural pathways and the muscles form “memory.”

Once a wrong habit is fixed in the brain, it takes a great deal more effort to replace it with the correct habit. A habit (or reflex, as I call it) cannot be dropped; it can only be replaced. Therefore, it makes sense to develop a reflex correctly from the first.

There is necessary repetition. Good performing skills are developed through many successful repetitions. Practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. There's no shortcut to competence. Development of tone, scale and arpeggio patterns, tonguing, lip slurring and more requires months and years of rehearsing (notice the parts of the word: re, hear, sing). It's repetitive, it's listening and it's singing. But once the craft is a consistent reflex, the mind has greater freedom to express the musical thoughts through the instrument without the distractions of technique. Technical development can be uninteresting and frustrating, but it can also be fun when it's approached as music-making and when the outcome, performing facility, is kept in mind.

Be hard on yourself in practice, then enjoy performing. Make perfection a goal (but not an end!) for each practice session. Remember that the finest performers occasionally make mistakes, but they always strive to make music at the highest level possible. In addition, have some mental or physical rewards for good practicing.

Practice regularly if not daily. A little practice each day is better than larger amounts of practice less often. There are also times when a day off is more productive than pressing on, especially when playing has been intense. The mind as well as the body needs rest from time to time. The idea of the Sabbath is God's idea for best living: work six days and rest on the seventh.

In each session, do some things you can do well AND do some things to challenge yourself. If all you practice is difficult material, you can become discouraged. At the same time, if there is no musical or technical challenge, you atrophy. All musicians need both ease and challenge.

Model excellence. Imitation of fine performers is an excellent way to practice. Imagine how a great player on your instrument would play this scale or articulate that etude or phrase a beautiful musical line. Sometimes imagine a fine singer and imitate that sound as you play.

Finally, daily practice routines should include, whenever possible, a menu of: 1)lyrical, song-like material, 2) technical material played musically, 3) sight-reading, and 4) solo/ensemble repertoire.

Make a list of all the skills you need for performing and work to touch on most if not all these skills each practice session. But if time is limited, do not neglect the lyrical aspect. This is the foundation for all fine playing.

Phil Norris is an Associate Professor of Music at Northwestern College, St. Paul, Minnesota, where he teaches and actively performs on trumpet. He earned his DMA at the University of Minnesota. Phil is past president of the Christian Instrumentalists and Directors Association and continues to compile and edit the CIDA Sacred List of Instrumental Music.

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In his devotional book, Mastery, page 47, E. Standley Jones writes...

THINKING...
by Harlow E. Hopkins


In the epoch-making event of the coming of the Holy Spirit, who were the recipients-a special group with special privilege and standing before God and hence before man? No, there were 120 in that group who received the “promise of the Father.”

Suppose it had been the Twelve only who received the Holy Spirit, as a Bible teacher maintained, it would have changed the very nature of the Christian faith. It would have introduced into the Christian faith a group with special privileges and special standing before God and hence before man. The Christian faith would have put its stamp of special approval on the various Brahmanisms through the structure of human society, and Christianity would have been just one more glorified caste system.

On the contrary when the cipher 0 was put to the 12, making it the 120 instead of the 12, that was the most important cipher in human history. It meant that before God no man was higher or lower than any other man; and the highest gift of God, the Holy Spirit, was open to a person as a person.

It showed that God wasn't dealing with apostles but with persons. The Holy Spirit was given not to a priest, a prophet, or a pope but to a person. There is no more important event in history than just that. It is a seed event-the future of humanity is in the womb of that event. For if God treats with man as man, then man must treat with man as man.

If there is no special privilege before God, then there must be no special privilege before man. That lays the foundation of democracy in a conception of God ...

and hence of man and makes it not rest on a written constitution made by man but written into the very constitution of the universe. That gives democracy a foundation in the nature of things. Before God we are equal; therefore before man we must be equal.

O Father, I thank Thee that I can stand before Thee neither above nor below any other man. Help me to take that privilege and give it to every other man. Amen.

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Since I stand equal before God, then every person shall be treated equally by me.

Mastery, E. Stanley Jones, Abingdon Press, New York & Nashville, 1955.

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Some Wedding Music Do's and Don'ts for Music Directors, Wedding Directors and Brides-To-Be, Part III

THE STRING SPACE
by Jay-Martin Pinner


WITH STRINGS ATTACHED

 

A free-lance string quartet getting started in the business will need to purchase its own music. It is unethical for a new group to borrow long-term from another group or to photocopy music. A percentage of the income from the first few gigs should be used to build a library of repertoire for the group. The coordinator for the group should be responsible for the music for each job.

The following list gives suggestions for music that is appropriate, well-arranged and enjoyable hear and perform. The list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive, but may be a helpful reference tool for new and veteran groups.

Flonzaley Favorite Encore Albums, Vols. 1-4, arr. Alfred Pochon, Carl Fischer

  • Beautifully arranged quartets as originally performed by the Flonzaley Quartet. Repertoire includes several Christmas titles as well as familiar folk tunes and classical pieces. Highly recommended for receptions. Intermediate to advanced level.

    Fiddle Tunes, arr. George A. Speckert, Bärenreiter

  • Six fiddle tunes, uniquely arranged. Great for receptions. Intermediate level.

    The Wedding Album, Vols. 1 and 2, arr. William Zinn, Excelsior Music Publishing Co./Theodore Presser Co., sole selling agent

  • Fourteen standard wedding tunes in each volume, nicely arranged. Indispensable for weddings. Intermediate level.

    Sixteen Easy Quartets, Vols. 1 and 2, W.A. Mozart, Kalmus

  • Standard string quartet repertoire appropriate for weddings and receptions. Intermediate to advanced level.

    Wedding Music (first volume)More Wedding Music (second volume), arr. Cleo Aufderhaar, Southern Music Co.

  • Ten or eleven familiar wedding tunes in each volume, nicely arranged. Indispensable for weddings. Intermediate level.

    Easy String Quartets, Vols. 1 and 2 (Vols. 3 and 4 are not useable), Belwin Mills Pub. Co.

  • Twelve arrangements of standard classics in each volume. Great for weddings and receptions. Despite the title these arrangements are intermediate to advanced level.

    Quality sacred string quartet arrangements are available from two of the largest publishers in this medium: David E. Smith Publications, www.despub.com, and Pinner Publications, www.pinnerpublications.com

    Jay-Martin Pinner is Head of the String Department at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. In addition to his teaching and performing responsibilities he and his family are free-lance musicians providing professional services for weddings, receptions, recording sessions and corporate events.

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    MAXIMS...


    I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it. - Igor Stravinsky

    In 1848 Robert Schumann published a list of maxims for musicians. Here are a few of them:

     

    • Try to play easy pieces well. It's better than playing difficult ones badly.

       

    • Always play as though a master were present.

       

    • If everyone insisted on playing first violin, there would be no orchestras. Respect every musician in her/his own field.

       

    • There's much to be learned from singers, male and female. But, don't believe everything they tell you.

       

    • Honor the old, but also welcome the new. Hold no prejudice against unknown names.

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    BASIC BUDAHL BRASS

    THE LONE ARRANGER
    by Dana F. Everson


    Dr. Monty J. Budahl's Sacred Brass Quartet Collection ought to be in every basic brass library.

    Each of the four arrangements is clean, practical and idiomatic for the instruments. The essential instruments are 2 trumpets and 2 trombones, a happy combination. The trombone parts have substitutes for French horn and Treble clef baritone making them even more flexible.

    The ranges are very reasonable for all instruments, and the technical problems are minimal even for early intermediate players.

    The collection is labeled at level 2. The titles are well known and show a cross section of styles and tempos.

    Lead Me to Calvary begins with unison trumpets then trombones follow in a simple canon response blending into cadence chords to complete the introduction. The first stanza is in a chorale-like texture with phrasing clearly marked. For contrast, the second stanza expresses a light staccato touch again with some canon effect between the upper and lower voices. The ending broadens to a plagal cadence.

    Nothing But the Blood takes a simple melodic figure from the introduction as a starting point for the second stanza which changes from 4/4 time to ¾ for a very pleasant shift of style. Dr. Budahl makes a simple four-part setting sound good!

    Near the Cross Medley presents Near the Cross (in a flowing 6/8), When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (in a stronger, more fervent 4/4), and finishes with The Old Rugged Cross (in a softer, gentler 6/8 meter).

    A Shelter in the Time of Storm is set in a "Bright march tempo." There is some independence of line in the first trumpet and first trombone part; just enough to add some variety without leaving the player exposed too long. This would be a great teaching piece for early intermediate level.

    Dr. Budahl shows his understanding of good part writing, beauty in simplicity, and a recognition of the ministry and pedagogical needs at this level.

    After you have incorporated this collection into your library, then add his Christmas Brass Quartet Collection as well!

    Finally, explore some of his other solid solo and ensemble arrangements at different levels throughout the Despub Catalog.

    Dana Everson holds the B.M.E. and Master's in Saxophone Performance degrees from Michigan State University, and a Master of Sacred Music from Pensacola Christian College. He has over 200 published works.

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    A mimeographed copy of “On Clarinet Playing” was obtained at a convention several years ago. It was the work of the late Gino Cioffi, former principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The following is a continuation of his article which began in the Spring, 2004, issue of Lines and Spaces.

    THE WOODWIND SPACE
    by Harlow E. Hopkins


    A clarinet reed is not shaped like an oboe or bassoon reed. Scraping a reed with a knife makes ridges in a clarinet reed which is a serious defect. The best scraping material is rush. The reason one should not scrape in the center is that the reed vibrates very little there where its main function is to offer resistance to the lip. The amplitude of a reed's vibration increases away from the center zone and is at its maximum at the tip and sides. If the reed is too hard, scrape the lower right edge as mentioned before.

    One concluding point: a reed that is too soft on the left side will not vibrate well whereas the reverse will not affect its performance. This is caused by the right hand's twisting the instrument slightly with the result that the left side of the red is pressed harder against the lip. Consequently the reed must have more resistance at this point to offset the extra pressure.

    A new reed should be a little soft to begin with, as the breaking-in period will eventually cause the reed to soak enough saliva to increase the dimensions somewhat, creating a harder reed. After the breaking-in period, the reeds that are too hard may be softened by lightly scraping the lower right edge.

    Reed Faults and Methods of Correction

    The categories of reed faults may be generalized as follows: 1) Too hard, 2) Too soft, 3) Unbalanced, 4) Too responsive and 5) Squeaky.

    Unless the fault is minor, do not attempt a complete adjustment at one sitting. The embouchure will change while testing a reed, so constantly alternate playing a reed needing adjustment with a good reed in order to keep the embouchure stable.

    1. Too hard

    A. If the reed offers too much resistance and requires a great deal of embouchure pressure in order to get a good sound, scrape the entire surface of the vamp with rush or emery paper. Another method is to scrape the table on the flat emery paper, but this may cause the tip to become too thin.

    B. If the reed plays well in the high register but is hard blowing in the low register, try setting the reed lower on the mouthpiece. If this does not correct the fault, the tip area is too hard and must be scraped lightly with the rush.

    C. If the reed has a somewhat “tubby” sound, lightly scrape the lower right edge. If this does not improve the reed, some scraping along the vamp from the shoulder to the halfway point may be beneficial.

    D. If the tip is too wide for the mouthpiece, a reed may seem to be too hard.

    E. If the reed produces a sluggish staccato, check the tip to see if it is of equal thickness all the way across. Any hard spots or thick vascular bundles in the tip should be leveled with the rush.

    F. If the reed plays well at a loud dynamic but feels heavy when playing softly, the tip is too thick.

    2. Too Soft

    A reed that is only slightly too soft or flat in the altissimo register may be corrected by placing it slightly above the tip of the mouthpiece. Otherwise, clip the tip of the reed ever so slightly, constantly checking to see that too much cane has not been removed. More good reeds have been ruined by the use of the reed clipper than in any other single operation.

    B. If the reed plays well but closes up in the high register, it is too soft and must be clipped. However, if the choking is due to too much wood having been removed from the heart, the reed is worthless. Flex the reed to determine the point of resistance.

    (To be continued)

    Harlow E. Hopkins is Professor of Music Emeritus at Olivet Nazarene Univer, Bourbonnais, Illinois, where he continues as Adjunct Professor of Clarinet

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    HE, WATCHING OVER US, SLUMBERS NOT-NOR SLEEPS

    HE, WATCHING OVER US, SLUMBERS NOT- NJOR SLEEPS
    by David E. Smith


    A certain preacher awoke to perfect golfing weather one Sunday morning. It had been either cold, raining, or too windy for a couple of months and, as he thought it over, the temptation was just too great. He called up one of his deacons and said, “You are going to have to cover for me today. I have to go out of town on urgent business.”

    He felt a little bit guilty as he drove to another town, but the birds were singing, the sun was shining, the sky was bright blue, there was no wind at all, and the temperature was just perfect, so he found ways to justify his absence “just this once.”

    As he stepped up to the first tee, St. Peter said to the Lord, “Look. Isn't that one of your men on the golf course? And on a Sunday?”

    The Lord said, “Don't worry, I'll take care of him.”

    The preacher hit a perfect drive, in fact the best he'd ever hit in his life. It soared about 250 yards, bounced twice, hit the green, and rolled right into the cup! St. Peter look at the Lord, but he didn't say anything.

    The preacher was ecstatic as he quickly teed up for the second hole, where his shot was just as good. He'd made another hole in one-the second one is his life!

    At that St. Peter turned to the Lord, “I thought you said you would take care of him,” he demanded.

    “I did,” answered the Lord.

    “Who's he going to tell?

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    THE PERCUSSION SPACE
    by Billy Madison


    Timpani Basics 101, Part 2

    (Basic Stokes)

    The legato stroke and the staccato stroke are the two basic strokes that need to be mastered for playing the timpani. (Each was briefly mentioned in part one of Timpani Basics 101.) This article will give a more detailed explanation of each stroke as to how it should be done and when it should be used.

    First, the legato stroke is the basic stroke for playing timpani. Begin, as always, with the mallet parallel to the head. Raise the mallet until it is straight up and down (or perpendicular with the head) and allow it to fall and strike the head about 4 inches from the rim. Don't force the mallet down. Instead allow the fingers and wrist to simply follow the stick in a smooth “waving” motion. Keep the grip loose and allow the mallet to bounce off the head back to the perpendicular position and then return it to the original position parallel to the head.

    The preparation and follow-through are vitally important to achieving the proper sound. Also, the size of the stroke will determine the volume.

    The legato stoke should be used for most normal playing situations.

    Second, the staccato stroke is used for faster rhythmic passages and those that must be articulated more clearly. Without the staccato stroke being used for such passages the rhythm would be unclear and the articulation would be undistinguishable. The staccato stroke also begins with the mallet parallel to the head. Raise the mallet till it is perpendicular to the head and then bring it back down to the head using the wrist. Keep the grip tight as it moves downward then loosen it slightly to allow the mallet to rebound back to the perpendicular position and then return it to the original position parallel to the head. Be careful not to force the mallet into the head and don't allow it to remain on the head. The amount of staccato applied to a note will be determined by how tight or loose the grip is.

    Time should be spent developing both of these strokes using various degrees of legato and staccato by tightening and loosening the grip. As the strokes are practiced and applied to different musical situations the performer will begin to automatically play the appropriate stroke that each passage of music dictates.

    Billy Madison has taught instrumental music in the Arkansas Public Schools for 18 years. He holds both the BME in Instrumental Music and the MM in Music Theory & Composition from Arkansas State University. He studied composition with Jared Spears and Tom O'Conner. Madison has played percussion with the Northeast Arkansas Symphony since 1978.

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  • Warm-up & Practice Approaches
    As exclusive distributor for "Light Of The World Music", David E. Smith Publications, LLC is pleased to announce the new release of the following items for this fine publisher.

    Preach Christ Always
    And As A Last Resort
    Use Words.
    St. Francis of Assisi

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    Copyright 2006 David E. Smith Publications, LLC.